Updated April 19, 2023
Stop Being a People-pleaser
In professional life, many people try to please others, from bosses to top management executives to peers, colleagues, and even sometimes subordinates. In this article, we will go in-depth about why people become people-pleaser instead of just themselves. You have already heard about people-pleaser individuals and maybe have met some or sometimes caught yourself being one yourself. But why do we do that? What’s the need to do that extra bit to become a people-pleaser? We will find out here, right now, right away.
We will etch out the whole article in this manner –
First, we will discuss why people-pleaser is the worst-case scenario for your professional life; then, we will explain why people become people-pleaser without realizing it; and finally, we will discuss ways to stop being a people-pleaser right away.
Let’s get started, then.
Why Being a People-pleaser is Bad for Your Professional Life?
Being a people-pleaser is not good. Why? Because if you become a people-pleaser, you will lose control over your life! And you will always be dictated by people and circumstances instead of taking charge of them. You will also lose touch with yourself and emulate people to show that you’re like them.
There are a few reasons why it’s such a bad thing for your professional ground.
You Lose Ground
When you’re a people-pleaser, you lose ground on who you are and get busy knowing what others are doing. In your heart, you know there’s an empty space, and even after trying to please people, you’re unable to fill that up. And once you lose ground, you lose touch with yourself, and thus, all that you can be in your career and life will get stalled. But the worst part is you will not know that you’re losing your potential.
You seem to Compare your Professional Achievements with your Peers and Significant Others
Comparison never generates a good feeling; no matter who does it, it’s a feeling that is not happy. When you are a people-pleaser, you’re naturally comparing yourself all your achievements and accomplishments with the achievements of others. And when their achievements are much more prodigious than yours, you seem to feel very small and start to please them. And after some time, you become a people-pleaser. In professional and personal life, no matter what you achieve, comparing it with others is a poor act. Because everyone’s path is different and everyone has unique talents and gifts. So comparing with others is like comparing a fish’s ability to climb up a tree with a monkey’s ability to swim. Does it ring a bell? You become a people-pleaser because you don’t like what you’ve accomplished and become more overwhelmed by what others have achieved.
You’re not able to say ‘no’ at all
Saying no is important. As a professional, you have limited time per week. And if you say ‘yes’ to everything, your work will overflow to your weekend, and you will not be able to relax and enjoy. And if you cannot relax, you will not be able to work the following week properly. People-pleasers take the burden to please people, and guess who suffers the most? Them.
You don’t get Room to Improve Yourself
When you become a people-pleaser, you cannot get time for your own thing. Naturally, you cannot improve your skills, hone your business acumen and polish your abilities. Most of your time is spent pleasing people, buttering them, and often oiling them.
You Suffer from an Inferiority Complex
Becoming a people-pleaser is not a one-day work. You continuously feel inferior, and thus you champion other people who are just like you, flesh and blood. And let us remind you that we all are cut from the same cloth. We’re not less brilliant or more intelligent. We all have abilities and capacities we are not yet aware of. But you will realize what lies within if you concentrate on yourself while trying to please others with your behaviors and actions. You will realize that you always feel inferior, and continuous criticism is happening inside your head. Thus you suffer from a disease called people-pleasing.
There are many reasons why becoming a people-pleaser is the worst-case scenario, but the above are the chief reasons. Look at them and find out whether there are any similarities in your behaviors or reasons. If not, go deep and find out why you do please people.
Why do People Become People-pleaser Without Realizing it?
There are very few fundamental reasons why people become people-pleaser without realizing it.
Jim, a 4-year-old boy, seeks love from his Mommy. However, Mommy conditions her love on Jim doing his chores well. So, Jim learns that he needs to please Mommy by completing his chores to receive her love and affection. This sets the foundation for people-pleasing behavior in Jim’s life.
Jim, now an executive in a reputed firm, seeks approval and respect from others due to conditional love in his childhood. He engages in people-pleasing behavior by constantly seeking ways to please his peers and boss in order to gain their approval and respect. This pattern stems from not receiving unconditional love during his childhood, leading to detrimental people-pleasing tendencies in his professional life.
There’s another type of people-pleasing, and that’s much more subtle. Rima loves her work, and she does a very good job. But she has a problem. She can’t say no. Whenever her colleague and boss ask her to do something, she says yes, all the time, every time. Thus, her weekend becomes as occupied as weekdays, and she doesn’t get any sleep or rest. Her parents told her to start saying no, but she just can’t. She doesn’t know what fear is stopping her, but there’s something that stops her. She thinks that if she says no, she will not get the love and approval of her peers and boss as before.
Look at both types of people-pleasers. One is very much obvious, and another much more subtle. How to get rid of this dangerous social disease? In the next section, we will see how.
Ways to Stop Being a People Pleaser
These are the easy-to-use ways to stop being a people-pleaser.
First, Realize that you’re a People-pleaser
Most people don’t agree that they’re people-pleaser. We all are people-pleasers to varied degrees. But if it’s more than 50% of the cases, you can call yourself a people-pleaser. They don’t get it if people are told they’re trying to please others. They don’t get it because they don’t know at all. The best method to realize that you’re a people-pleaser is to observe yourself closely in a professional setting. How you’re talking? How you’re giggling? How you’re feeling because of others’ achievements? How you’re doing your work? What types of work you’re doing? Are all of you doing your work? Do you delegate work? Do you say yes to every request? If the answer to the above questions is yes (to most of them), then you’re a people-pleaser. Realizing that you’re a people-pleaser is the beginning of curing it.
Find Out the Reason/s Why You’re Practicing this Habit
Yes, it’s a habit. It’s wired in your brain, so you can’t stop doing it. Take some time alone. Sit in solitude with a pen and paper. Think. Ponder. Ruminate about why you please people! What’s your payoff? Do you feel validated? Ask yourself where this validation is coming from. What if they don’t validate you even if you please people? Where would you find validation, then? If you can honestly answer these questions, then you will be able to search for ways to stop doing it.
Priority beats every bad habit. What if you only please a few people – just your family, not anyone else? What then? First of all, it would be difficult. But begin to prioritize your family over your professional colleagues. Whenever you catch yourself trying to please your peers, stop and try to please your child or husband instead. If you practice this, you will receive some resistance from your peer group for some time as you act differently. But soon enough, you would get rid of it. Once you can focus only on your family, now prioritize yourself. Please yourself. No, it doesn’t mean you will not love your family. But now, it’s a challenge not to please your family. It’s time to please you. If you follow this step-by-step method, you will completely eliminate this bad habit within months.
Identify Your Fear
People please others mainly out of fear – fear of losing loved ones, fear of bad consequences, fear of failure, fear of losing the approval of peers and boss, fear of being lesser than others, fear of others’ happiness, etc. Find out what fear is making you a people-pleaser. Usually, there will be 2-3 if you find out. All others are just different versions of the same fears. Find them out and find the root of those fears. Once you know the roots, it will be much easier for you to face your fear. The best way to do that is to imagine the worst-case scenario. Imagine you’re experiencing them right now. What will happen? Nothing. You will still be okay. Maybe a little sad. But you will be fine. The whole world will not crash down upon you.
Stop Being so Nice
Rather be firm. Being polite is okay, but being timid isn’t. Whenever you’re ordered or commanded by your boss to do something that shouldn’t be done, stand for yourself and say no. If you feel that it’s impossible to say no right now, start with smaller things than that. Say no to people who don’t matter or who cannot affect your life or profession in a considerable manner.
Once you are comfortable saying no to them, use it with your peers in the same position. Once you do that, start saying no to your boss gracefully. You don’t need to be rude. But yes, you need to stop pleasing him/her, and you need to be firm if you want to grow in your professional life. Most people think that it’s the exact opposite. But imagine making a people-pleaser the CEO of the company. Will the company be sustainable even for a few years down the line? You know the answer.
What’s Your Payoff?
This is the most common question psychologists ask when they notice people justifying their resentments and suffering. Everyone has a payoff for doing something. Find out yours. Why you’re people-pleasure? What need does it serve? Why do you keep on doing it? If you can find the payoff, ask yourself how you can get it differently or via a different method where you don’t need to go to people and try to appease them.
These are not the only ways to stop being a people-pleaser. But they’re the cornerstones. If you use them, even one, you will begin putting a full stop to being a people-pleaser. Don’t be a people-pleaser; rather, be your own person. Live your life in your own way. You don’t need to listen to other people to make things happen. Of course, this world is interdependent. We all need each other. But not in a way that makes you a slave of people. Slavery is not a good characteristic. And being a people-pleaser is nothing but slavery, where you sell your head for a price. Do you think it’s worth it?